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Black Friday 2010-2019 Retrospective

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“Worst Black Friday ever.”

“Last year’s deals were better.”

Remember 2019?! It’s been so long… Remember Black Friday 2019? It was pretty good. There were decent deals. Ubisoft didn’t release an Assassin’s Creed game last year and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare’s demand was high enough not to prompt the usual discount.

Let’s take a closer look at how Black Friday 2019 stacked up.

The Annual Franchises

Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey may have had the steepest Black Friday discount for the franchise last year, but it sold rather well compared to Ghost Recon: Breakpoint which was described as disappointing:

For Ghost Recon Breakpoint, while the game’s quality appeared on track – based on E3, Gamescom, previews and our latest internal playtests –, critical reception and sales during the game’s first weeks were very disappointing.

I don’t know if the steep discount swayed enough people to redeem the game’s sales figures, but 50% off the MSRP a month later? It truly isn’t wise to pick up Ubisoft titles on day one.

Call of Duty: Modern Warfare was a return to form for Activision-Blizzard and Infinity Ward. You have to go back eight years to the last time a Call of Duty title was $59.99 on Black Friday. (Granted, it was not on sale in 2011, but still…)

Considering its high sales numbers, it’s safe to assume demand was sufficient that the publisher did not see the need to cut a deep discount on Black Friday.

Other Releases

Here are an assortment of other titles from 2018 and 2019. Titles were selected based on the discount, popularity, and availability. There’s little value in highlighting the door crasher sale of a niche title.

Q4 2019 wasn’t a hot bed of new releases. In fact, the only major third party release was WWE 2K20 which saw a steep discount due to its poor reception.

Wolfenstein: Young Blood Deluxe was the biggest Q3 release to see some sort of discount during Black Friday. It was on sale several times already, so it wasn’t a surprise to see it hit such a low price.

Ubisoft discounting Division 2 this aggressively wasn’t surprising considering it too was a commercial failure. It sold so poorly that Ubisoft was practically giving it away in February 2020.

One of 2018’s best, Red Dead Redemption 2, would regularly hit this $40 price point after Black Friday 2019.

The Lessons Learned

  1. You should not be paying full price for Call of Duty or Assassin’s Creed titles; they often receive discounts on Black Friday.
  2. If it sold poorly for Ubisoft, it will receive aggressive discounts.

A Reminder

Black Friday isn’t meant for “full time” bargain hunters; it’s for the masses who don’t keep tabs on the latest deals or did not get a chance to use the usual E3 pre-order discounts.